A woman who lost her job is waiting in line to file for unemployment after a coronavirus outbreak at the Arkansas Labor Center in Fort Smith, Ark., April 6, 2020. Credit ̵
The United States is in the midst of an economic recession, COVID-19 levels are rising, and thousands of schools and kindergartens are yet to open classrooms for personal presence. The group that bears the brunt of this torrent of bad news? Women.
Between August and September, 865,000 women dropped out of the workforce, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Legal Center of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in September. At the same time, only 216,000 men are leaving the workforce. Meanwhile, one in four women is considering reducing working hours, moving to part-time roles, moving to less demanding jobs, taking time off work or quitting the workforce altogether, according to an annual Women’s Survey. the post, published in September by McKinsey & Co. and Lean In.
“If we had a panic button, we’d push it,” said Rachel Thomas, CEO of Lean In, a gender equality advocacy group co-founded by Facebook boss Cheryl Sandberg. “We’ve never seen numbers like these.”
In the absence of an analogy, it is too early to say what the impact of this uneven eviction will be, as we are still in the middle of it. But economic and business analysts agree that it will not be good: Progress towards equal pay for women and men, which is still incomplete, will certainly stop if it does not slow down. The number of women who win C-suite roles can also decrease, hurting women who miss them – while marrying the companies they work for. Research shows that companies with heterogeneity tend to have better balance sheets than their competitors. All these complex factors serve to reduce economic recovery for all.
“There is no historical parallel to what is happening here for women,” said Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Studies. “There’s nothing to compare it to: not the 2008 recession or the Great Depression.”
Some of these annoying numbers can be attributed to the type of work that women often do. The female-dominated industries, including healthcare, education, care for the elderly, service and hospitality, are among the hardest hit by the recession caused by COVID. When the pandemic first invaded the United States in March and April, hospitals began releasing nurses and nurses who worked mostly on elective procedures. Day care struggling with abrupt subscription and rising overheads has cut 250,000 workers. By April, 72% of housewives reported being abandoned by all their customers. Restaurants that lost their entire dinner business have cut back on their servers – 70% of which are women.
But the abbreviations and acronyms explain only part of the picture. Many women leave the workforce not because their jobs have disappeared, but because their support systems have disappeared. More than half of American elementary and high school students now attend only online classes, according to a recent study by Burbio, a software company that combines school and public calendars. And about 40 percent of children’s centers surveyed in July by the National Association for the Education of Young Children say they are doomed to close permanently without significant state aid – which never materialized.
Without the help of these institutions, full-time work in childcare and education has fallen disproportionately on women. According to a report by McKinsey and Lean In, twice as many working mothers said they were worried about their work because they were also juggling care. Only 44% of mothers surveyed said they shared household responsibilities equally with their partner since the beginning of the pandemic. (Men tend to have different perceptions: 70% of fathers surveyed say they do their fair share.) For one in five mothers raising children without a cohabitant living with their parents, the challenges are even greater.
Women’s decisions to leave the workforce this year are likely to affect their own professional and financial goals for the rest of their lives. This is an inaccurate comparison, but studies conducted on students who end up in recession and then are either unemployed or forced to take jobs below their qualification levels lose their profits compared to college graduates amid more rosy economic conditions. Losses initially amount to about 9% and usually do not dissipate until about a decade after graduation.
But it’s not just women who will suffer. Business – and the US economy – will do the same. A 19-year study of 215 companies at Pepperdine University found a strong link between companies hiring women executives and their profitability, which led to 18-69% increases for Fortune 500 companies with the best results for promoting women. “Women have really important skills in the labor market and they stimulate all kinds of innovations,” said Melissa Botic, vice president of the National Women’s Law Center. “Companies that are more diverse do better. And we leave people aside who want to participate in the game. “
The United States is unique among industrialized countries in the ways in which women have failed. Unlike any other industrialized country, the United States does not guarantee paid parental leave through permanent and universal federal law, which makes it impossible for some women to care for family members who become ill or for children who are suddenly homeless. The federal government also does not require all companies to provide paid sick leave, which may have led to some employees continuing to work when they had to call the sick. “The fact that we had such backward workplace policies for women in this country made us more vulnerable to the pandemic,” Botic said.
Lack of preparation on these fronts is likely to stifle and slow long-term recovery, economists say. When more people can participate in the labor force, economic output, measured by gross domestic product, increases while labor costs fall. At a more microeconomic level, the Lean In and McKinsey and Co. study found that mothers were 1.5 times more likely than fathers to spend 20 hours a week – the equivalent of half a full-time job – caring for children and housework. If this deteriorating double burden leads to a large percentage of double-income families with children who choose one parent to stay at home, consumer spending at discretion will also suffer.
The pandemic has made progress over the years in creating more equal and diverse jobs. From the six years that McKinsey and Lean In conducted their joint workplace survey, the wear rates of men and women have always been in tandem. So far this is it.
“To think that we can lose all the hard-earned progress we’ve seen in women’s performance in a year really leaves us breathless,” says Thomas, “and we think everyone who is an organization leader should have one, too. breathless. “